Michael Waterman was born in 1947 in Portland, Maine. At age four, he began painting and drawing at his father’s painting studio. He had participated in many solo and group exhibits, won a number of awards and even completed his first commission (a 75 foot mural) before he finished high school in 1965. He was then awarded a scholarship to attend the Pratt Institute in New York City for the summer session of 1965. Thereafter, having taken First Prize in the Scholastic Magazine National Art Competition, Waterman was awarded another scholarship to the Art Students League, also in New York City.

After returning home to Portland, Maine, this critically acclaimed Maine artist has had more than 3 decades of exhibitions, solo shows, television and radio interviews and commissions. His exhibitions included a 1988 retrospective at the University of Southern Maine which inspired art critic Edgar Allen Beem to observe that Waterman “possesses an authentic vision of Portland such as no other artist in the area quite manages.”

"(One day,) I was walking through a snowy street…The gray light of the day and the muffled sounds of the activity around me enhanced my mood for seeing things I wouldn't see regularly. …Voices and faces broke my trance, and I was put to deal with watching them as they moved before the stage of my harbor backdrop.
In my vision of them, reckless and unconcerned, they fit precisely into their surroundings. One, I had the slice of harbor. Two, I had the major structures of buildings around them. Three, I had the people all moving together at a consistent pace with their surroundings. The implications of their inter-relationships became an endless source for my imagination. Yes, I could see all three, even while looking only at shoes or scarf. No matter what I chose to see, I saw all. I had come to a new level." -Michael Waterman